Neighborhood » Saint Mary's in the Community

Saint Mary's in the Community

Community-minded efforts are a priority for Saint Mary’s.  The school  is grateful for the kindness of local business and neighbors who have partnered with us in these efforts:  providing flowers for special guest speakers, assistance with prom corsage sales, landscaping needs for the campus, lunchtime food sales to our students, helping with catering needs, delicious crab and roast chicken for the Crab Feed, morning coffee, parking spaces for events, donations to school programs, advertising and attending school performances and athletic events, hosting student art shows, invitations to entertain at neighborhood events, and more.  Saint Mary’s students, faculty, alumni, and families continue to be involved in projects in the greater community as well, as shown in the stories that follow.

During the Shutdown: (March 27, 2020) In accordance with CDC and Alameda County Public Health guidelines in response to COVID-19, Saint Mary’s High will remain closed through the end of the current school year, with Distance Learning in place for the Spring Term, which began March 23.  Please note that the Saint Mary’s campus is CLOSED to non-essential visitors.  Essential personnel are on campus.  For your safety and the safety of the campus community and the full-time campus residents, please remain off the school property and athletic field.  Your helpful cooperation is greatly appreciated.  For  school news, updates, and contacts, visit www.saintmaryschs.orgWe wish the best for you and your families.  Thank you from the Saint Mary’s family.

Thanks, Neighbors, for Your Senior Support! A big thank you to the many Saint Mary’s neighbors who are sharing support for the seniors by posting our terrific congratulatory signs at their homes. There are many Saint Mary’s alumni families and many friends among them, wishing the best for the seniors as they go through a graduation like no other. Thanks, Neighbors!

Panthers in the Playoffs: Neighbors are reminded that sports playoffs hosted at the school are not known until the schedules are set and each game result is known.  Games to be played at Saint Mary’s will be posted on the school website and updated as soon as possible.  This Winter, February playoffs being hosted at Peralta Park include girls’ and boys’ Varsity Basketball, and boys’ Soccer.  Playoffs got underway February 20, 2020.  Go Panthers!  Good luck!

Panthers in the Community:  Among the many and varied service projects recently undertaken by the school community were two near campus, pictured below.  1) In Fall 2019, freshman students worked to clear debris at Codornices Creek near Golden Gate Fields.  Freshman Biology classes continue the long-held tradition of work/study in the creek bed at the edge of the school campus, cleaning, clearing, and studying the native species and wildlife.  2) Students and faculty helped out at the monthly Friends of the Fountain and Walk clean-up day at the Marin Circle and Fountain in Fall 2019, trimming, pruning, sweeping up, and even scrubbing the fountain tiles inside the drained structure to get it ready to shine at Christmas.

 Singing Christmas Card:  Members of Saint Mary’s “Varsity Vocals” acapella group regaled shoppers and neighbors with caroling on Thursday, December 19, 2019 at various locations around the Monterey/Hopkins Center.  The “Singing Christmas Card” was a thank you to the merchants and neighbors.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at Saint Mary’s!

Saint Mary’s Chorus Members caroled at Monterey Market and other local shops on December 19.

Helping Out:  Members of the Panthers’ Softball Team volunteered at the Albany Fire Department’s annual Pancake Breakfast on October 13, 2018, even taking on mascot duties as “Sparky the Dog.”  Thanks, Panthers!  Thanks, Albany Fire and Police !

Admissions Open House December 2, 2018:  Families with children in grades six, seven, and eight are invited to the school’s annual Open House on Sunday, December 2, 2018 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.  Come visit the historic Peralta Park campus and learn what makes our 155 year old school so unique.  Public transportation is encouraged.  AC Transit bus #12 stops two blocks from campus, and North Berkeley BART is a four-block walk.  The school will run a shuttle van to and from BART during the event (schedule below).  Visit the Admissions section on the school web site for details.  See you there!

Come Join Us!:  Neighbors are invited to the February 16, 2018 Dance Concert and February 22 Music and Choral Concert in the school auditorium, both beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Dance tickets are $5.00 at the door and the music concert offers free admission.  Saint Mary’s annual Red Cross Blood Drive takes place on March 27, 2018 from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in the school gym.  Neighbors are invited to make an appointment online at and enter sponsor code: SMCHS. Come help us save lives with your blood donation!  Neighborhood middle-schoolers are invited to check out Saint Mary’s Summer 2018 Panther Sports Camps and Middle School Academic Enrichment Programs on the school web site.  Watch the school web site for details about the Spring Musical coming up in April!  Saint Mary’s will present “The Addams Family Musical”!

Fall Drama Production 2017:  Saint Mary’s presents “Anon(ymous)” on stage in the school auditorium.  Follow the journey of a modern day migrant across America in Naomi Iizuka’s story based on Homer’s The Odyssey.  Performances are at 7 p.m. on October 26, 27, 28, November 2 and 4, and at 6 p.m. on November 5.  All ages welcome.  General admission is $10 at the door.  Image:  Kayla Hurd ’18 and Tommy Huebner ’20.

NOTICE re: Homecoming Game 2017:  (Posted 9/28/17) Due to a change in the Albany High JV Football program, the Saint Mary’s vs. Albany JV Homecoming game scheduled for Saturday, September 30, was cancelled earlier this week.  Saint Mary’s JV will instead play Galileo High School JV of San Francisco at Brady Park on Friday afternoon, September 29.  The Varsity Homecoming game against Albany will take place as scheduled on Saturday afternoon at Brady Park.

End of the Year:  Saint Mary’s 154th school  year, the 89th at its Peralta Park campus, is winding down.  The school calendar is available on the web site home page.  Summer courses for incoming freshmen and current students begin in mid-June, as well as Panther Sports Camps for younger students.  Chapel construction will continue throughout the summer months.  Founder’s Week 2017 is May 8 – 12, and honors Saint John Baptist de La Salle (1651-1719), who founded the teaching order of De La Salle Christian Brothers in France in 1680.  Today, the Brothers conduct schools and teaching communities for over a million students in 84 countries around the world.  Saint Mary’s High and College (Moraga) are the Brothers’ oldest schools on the West Coast.  On Friday, May 12, 2017, the school community will celebrate a morning Founder’s Day Mass, followed by distribution of honors to faculty, staff, and students.  The afternoon will include lunch, games on campus and on the field, and music, as part of the school’s annual celebration, noted in the Neighbor Newsletter.  The community is invited to the final music and dance concerts of the school year .  Dance: May 19 at 7:00 p.m. and Music I and II:  May 25 and 26 at 7:00 p.m.  Watch the school web site home page for details and ticket prices.  Saint Mary’s wishes a pleasant summer to the community! Photo: Saint Mary’s welcomed the Class of 2021 to campus on April 29 for the annual Freshman Orientation program. That same day, a group of local history buffs visited the site pictured, which was the site of the historic Peralta Park Hotel (1888-1959).


Peralta Park History Events in April 2017:  Join noted bay area historian, Richard Schwartz, for a talk and book signing about his latest work, The Man Who Lit Lady Liberty: The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of Actor M.B. Curtis, Wednesday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. at P egasus Books, 1855 Solano Avenue, Berkeley. Schwartz tells the fascinating story of the famous actor who single-handedly changed the town of Berkeley while fascinating and entertaining its citizens both off and on the stage. In 1888 M.B. Curtis built the magnificent Peralta Park Hotel in Berkeley, which was purchased by the Christian Brothers in 1903 for their St. Joseph’s Academy grammar school. Saint Mary’s College High School moved to the campus site in 1927. For further information click here. (Book cover art courtesy of Richard Schwartz). On April 29, Schwartz will lead a walking tour of the Peralta Park neighborhood.  Curtis Walking Tour – 4.29.17


Learn more about M.B. Curtis, Sam’l of Posen, Albina de Mer, and the Peralta Park story in a Berkeleyside interview with the author.  Click to view .


Music and Dance Concerts:  Saint Mary’s Performing Arts will present two concerts:  Dance on February 17 at 7:00 p.m. and Music on February 23, also at 7:00 p.m.  Both concerts will take place in the school auditorium and tickets are $5.00.  Dance students will present “Moving Pictures,” the 2017 Student Choreographers’ Showcase.  The “Varsity Vocals” Acapella group, Chorus, Beginning Band, Orchestra, and Jazz Band will perform audience favorites.  The Jazz Band and vocalists have performed at the Albany Arts & Green Festival and at joint concerts with the Saint Mary’s College Jazz Band.


Student Art Show at Espresso Roma:  (January 24, 2017) It’s time again for the annual Saint Mary’s Student Art Show at Espresso Roma Café on Hopkins Street.   Be sure to stop by and support Saint Mary’s artists and the café for its kind support of the school.  A rotating display of student artwork is in the school’s Main Office throughout the school year, and the annual AP Art show takes place on campus in the Spring.  Later in the year, students’ ceramic work will again be donated for auction at the Alameda County Food Bank fundraiser. Nearly thirty faculty, staff, alumni, and students volunteered at the Food Bank on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday on January 16 (pictured).  Mark your calendars now for Saint Mary’s production of Disney’s “High School Musical” on March 30, 31, April 1, 7, and 8.

Advent Coat & Sock Drive-December 2016:  Saint Mary’s Families, Friends, Neighbors, Em ployees, Alumni! Coat and Sock Drive CURBSIDE PICK UP will take place on December 5, 9, 12, and 16 BEFORE SCHOOL on three sides of campus:  Albina drop-off area inside campus;  Monterey gate drop-off;Posen Street drop-off.  Let’s top last year’s record of 1,000 pairs of socks and 500 coats!  New, white, largest-size men’s white tube socks and gently-used warm coats of any size and style and for either gender will be collected until December 16. Socks will be donated to the Berkeley Catholic Worker program and coats to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society in Oakland.  As Saint Mary’s marks the Church’s Season of Advent, these items will go far to help those in need this winter.  Sponsored by Saint Mary’s Student Action Lasallian Team (SALT).   Make it a family activity to donate to this wonderful project so that others  can simply stay warm. Target, CVS, Big 5, Penney’s, Ross, even many grocery stores carry socks – it’s easy, just pick up a pair or pack while you shop for Christmas, go to the Mall, or when you get your flu shot or pick up that cough syrup.  Get out those coats and jackets you never wear and pass them on to someone without . LET’S SOCK IT TO WINTER!  Thank you!  Photo: Curbside collection on Posen, December 2015.

Annual Homecoming Spirit Rally – October 21:  If you hear the  Panther ROAR and spirited cheers and music coming from the field at Brady Park on Friday afternoon, October 21, the school is celebrating Homecoming Week with the annual Spirit Rally, this year on the field from 2:25-3:10 PM. The Homecoming Game and Dance follow on Saturday, October 22.  Come join us for the big game on Saturday – tickets are available online via the school web site’s Athletics link.

32nd Golf Tournament for Tuition Assistance:  Saint Mary’s College High School will hold its 32nd Golf Tournament fundraiser for tuition assistance at Mira Vista Golf and Country Club in El Cerrito on Monday, September 12, 2 016. $225 per person entry fee includes lunch, golf, post-tournament reception and tee prize golf shirt. Tee signs and sponsorships are available to donors. 19th Hole Reception in the Clubhouse at 5:00 p.m. is open to non-golfers for $25/person; reservations required via the links that follow. Online registration is open at (use the “Support Saint Mary’s” link) or contact Joanne Howe, Advancement Assistant, at 510-559-6227 or  The annual Phil Doran Memorial Tournament honors school alumnus, alumni Dad, 25-year boys’ golf coach, and retired Berkeley Police Captain, Phil Doran, Class of ’63 (1945-2010).  Join us!

Brother Timothy Collection Cabernet Wine Sales Support Saint Mary’s, May 1 -15, 2016:  Though the Christian Brothers sold their historic winery operations years ago, the link between their wine and education continues today, through online sales of the highly-prized Brother Timothy Cabernet.  The Spring 2016 sales event runs May 1 through 15; designate Saint Mary’s College High School as the recipient of sale proceeds and support the school’s critical tuition assistance program.  Learn more, and reserve yours today on the Lasallian Christian Brothers Foundation web site.  Below:  The historic Christian Brothers Cellars (“Greystone”) in Saint Helena, California, today the Culinary Institute of America – Napa Campus.  (Image:

The Christian Brothers Wine and Champagne Cellar St. Helena

Join Saint Mary’s for Spring Dance and Music Concerts in May:  The community is invited to come enjoy student music and dance performances during May.  The Spring Dance Concert – “Surfaces” – will take place Friday, May 6 in the auditorium at 7:00 p.m . Tickets are $10 at the door.  Two music concerts will be held on May 26 and 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium.  Watch the school web site for ticket prices.  Saint Mary’s thanks the neighbors and wider community for their support of the 2016 school musical production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in February (photo below).


Berkeley Kiwanis Club Scholars – April 2016:  Two Saint Mary’s seniors were awarded 2016 Berkeley Kiwanis Club scholarships at a luncheon at Hs Lordships restaurant on the Berkeley Marina on April 26.  Salome Ragot and Sofia Andrade received academic scholarships of $10,000 and $6,000, respectively.  Salome is an alumna of Ecole Bilingue in Berkeley and will attend UC Berkeley in the fall.  Sofia graduated from Berkeley’s School of the Madeleine and will head to either Cal or UCLA for college.  Thanks to Berkeley Kiwanis!

Read All About It!  Several Saint Mary’s school publications are now available online on the school web site.  Click the “Support Us” link in the main menu on the home page, and then on the links to The “Good News” issues now online.  Among them is a special issue dedicated to the new Saint Mary’s Student Chapel (below), set to get underway in Summer 2016.  The school has been without a dedicated chapel space since 1973 with the demolition of De La Salle Hall (1927 – the original high school building at Peralta Park) for seismic safety reasons.  The chapel will be dedicated to the Blessed Mother, school patroness.

Coat and Sock Drive 2015:  Saint Mary’s Service Club students will be collecting new, white, largest-size men’s tube and crew socks and gently-used coats of any style, color, size, and for either gender from December 1 through December 11.  Coats will be donated to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society in Oakland and socks to the Berkeley Catholic Worker program.  The 2014 collection brought in 1,400 pairs of socks and 300 coats!

Christmas Concert December 17, 2015:
 Saint Mary’s neighbors and local merchants are especially invited to attend the school’s second annual Christmas Concert in the school auditorium on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.  Admission is free.  Learn more on the school web site home page the week of the concert.  The auditorium is accessible to pedestrians via the Posen Avenue or Albina Avenue entrances to campus.  Fa-La-La!

Admissions Open House November 22, 2015:
Saint Mary’s will hold its annual Admissions Open House for prospective students on Sunday, November 22 from 1 until 3 p.m.  Campus tours, displays, classroom visits, presentations, and more will be available that day.  For details, visit the school web site at  No reservations needed.  Visitors are asked to be attentive to all campus traffic signs and monitors in the school neighborhood.  Public transit is encouraged, via North Berkeley BART or AC Transit lines 25A, 25B, and 52.  The Berkeley Half-Marathon takes place that morning; please check that event web site for possible street closures near the school.

Saint Mary’s Parking and Traffic:
Saint Mary’s thanks all the students and families who are following the school’s traffic and parking instructions. Your support in successfully helping Saint Mary’s manage traffic in the neighborhood is appreciated.  Thanks, in particular, to our Freshman families whose designated drop-off is at the Monterey Avenue entrance to campus.  The help of the school’s Traffic Monitors on Albina, Monterey, and Posen is greatly appreciated, as well.   Photos:  1) Faculty member Mr. James Quach (Sports Medicine & Health) and his student aide monitor morning arrivals at school on Albina Avenue; 2) At the Monterey Avenue gate, student aides work with History Teacher and Coach Mr . Bert Bertero, a Class of 1975 alumnus who grew up in the Saint Mary’s neighborhood, sign in Freshmen as they arrive at school.  Brother Ray Bonderer, FSC, helps out as a greeter.

Saint Mary’s annual “Golden Grads” reunion brought more than three dozen members of the Class of 1965 back to Peralta Park to join the seniors for their Baccalaureate and Commencement on June 6 and 7, 2015.  Joining the men before the Baccalaureate Mass on June 6 (below) was Brother Mel Anderson, FSC, Saint Mary’s Class of 1947, in black, who was the school’s Principal from 1964 to 1969 before serving as President of Saint Mary’s College in Moraga for nearly thirty years. Saint Mary’s College Professor Brother Kenneth Cardwell, FSC, a Berkeley native, sixth generation Californian, and son of former Berkeley Historical Society President, Ken Cardwell, Sr. (1920-2010) was among the class members, as was Father Xavier Lavagetto, OP, Catholic Chaplain at Stanford University. Saint Mary’s congratulations the Class of 1965!

“Team Panthers” represented Saint Mary’s in the annual 24-Hour Relay for Life for Cancer research funding held in Albany in mid-May. Along with the relay walkers, the school’ s Cheer Team helped kick off the event, while two faculty members taught Zumba and entertained with vocals. A number of juniors and seniors walked the Relay in formal gowns and tuxes after their Prom in San Francisco, then changed into jeans to help out at the event through the night. The Alameda County Community Food Bank announced that Saint Mary’s collected a terrific 1,620 pounds of food during Lent 2015 to help those struggling with the burden of hunger. Art students crafted beautiful ceramic bowls (pictured) to donate to families supported by the Food Bank.

Blood Drive the Best Ever: In Saint Mary’s most successful blood drive ever, more than 70 units of blood were collected on March 31, 2015 — enough to help save more than 200 lives!  Thank you to the Red Cross for coming to campus, and to all who donated blood, including those Saint Mary’s neighbors who participated.  The annual drive was a service project of Saint Mary’s health and science classes and brunch treats were provided by the Saint Mary’s Parent Association.

Campus Student Chapel Project Presentation, April 1, 6:00 pm, Auditorium:  Saint Mary’s invites  neighbors in the  vicinity of the campus to attend a presentation on the design of the new Student Chapel . Saint Mary’s has filed an application for design review approval for the Saint Mary’s Student Chapel.  The public hearing/work session is set to take place on April 8 before the Albany Planning and Zoning Commission.  In advance of the hearing, Saint Mary’s is inviting all interested campus neighbors to a special presentation on the design of the Chapel.  The presentation will take place on Wednesday, April 1, at 6:00 P.M., in the school auditorium.  Architects from the firm of “Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects” of San Francisco will be making the presentation. The auditorium is next to the school gym and field, and is accessible by way of either the Posen or Albina entrance to campus.   Should you have any questions, please phone Jeanne Loughman at 559-6220 or Mark Headley at 847-0885.  No RSVP needed.  Thank you.

Thank You to the Community:  The Saint Mary’s community extends warm thanks to the neighborhood, merchants, and local media for their kindness, support, and prayers on the death of the school’s beloved Vice-Principal, Herman Shum, on December 27.  Mr. Shum was well-known and respected in the community and your kindness is appreciated.

Memorial to Mr. Shum in the Shea Student Center on the Saint Mary’s campus.

Graduation Weekend:  On June 7 and 8, Saint Mary’s Class of 2014 gathered with family and friends for the annual Baccalaureate Mass (Saturday, June 7) on campus, and commencement exercises (Sunday, June 8) at Zellerbach Hall on the Cal campus.  The seniors welcomed members of the Class of 1964 to both events in celebration of the men’s fifty-year reunion.  Click here to read more about the Class of 1964 events.  Seniors graduated with numerous honors on June 8; click here to read about some of them.  Congratulations!

Forty-two members of Saint Mary’s Class of 1964 returned to Peralta Park for fifty-year reunion events on the weekend of June 7 and 8, 2014

151st School Year Coming to an End   As another school year winds down, a number of events and activities will mark the closing of Saint Mary’s 151st school year (below).  As April came to a close, sports achievements among our students were many.  Track and Field turned out stellar performances at the Woody Wilson Invitational in Davis, breaking several school records, and at the renowned Penn Relays back East.  Boys’ Golf had a perfect 16-0 season, and 2008 alumnus Marcus Semien hit his first career grand slam to bring the Chicago White Sox a win over the Detroit Tigers on April 23.  2006 alumnus Bobby Murphy, co-creator of “Snapchat”, was named one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People of 2013.  And, film and television actor Russell Hornsby, ’92 (currently starring in NBC’s “Grimm”), joined many alums at the April 11 performance of “The Wiz.”  Thanks to our neighbors who came out to support and enjoy the Spring Musical.   Final college decisions are keeping the seniors busy, the annual AP Art Show opens in the Shea Student Center on May 1, and new Freshman Orientation is May 3.  Sixth & Seventh Grade Information Night is May 6, and Saint Mary’s will celebrate Founder’s Day, honoring Saint John Baptist de La Salle, on May 16.  The Spring Music Concert is May 30 at 7:00 p.m. (come join us), and school ends on June 12.  The Class of 1964 will join the Class of 2014 for Baccalaureate Mass on campus on June 7, and graduation will take place on June 8 at Cal’s Zellerbach Hall.  Best wishes to the community for a pleasant summer.

Alumni Night at the Theatre brought many Saint Mary’s alums to a special pre-performance reception and a gathering with the show’s cast, crew, and current Saint Mary’s faculty after the April 11th production. L-R: Mr. Lawrence Puck ’78, Margaret Wedgwood ’99, student actors Nora Potts, Jane Verlaine, and Soraya Shockley, actor Russell Hornsby ’92 (currently starring in NBC’s “Grimm”), and James Jordan ’89 . Mr. Hornsby recalls that he caught the acting bug right here at Saint Mary’s when he participated in Mr. Olivier’s first-ever production of “The Wiz.”

Visiting Tara Firma Farm in Marin County during Enrichment Week 2013

Where ARE they going?  March is here and with it, Saint Mary’s annual Enrichment Week!  Students and faculty will take to the highways and byways, BART paths and bike paths, airports and train stations, on foot, by bus, and van to a myriad of more than thirty on- and off-campus courses created by teachers to engage students in adventures and experiences they might otherwise not have.  Canoeing in snowfall in Olympic National Park in Washington State; visiting New York City; art, architecture, history, culture, food, style, music, and more right nearby in San Francisco and other Bay Area cities.  Some will travel abroad for cultural and service immersion trips, this year to Morocco, Paris, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Haiti, New Orleans, Japan, the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana, and more.  On campus and locally, students will learn to cook, make robots, drive a car, repair an engine, engage in many service projects, and much, much more.  The program runs March 10 through 14; travelers leave after finals on March 7.  Hope for good weather!

Come Join Us!  Four events are coming up at Saint Mary’s that are open to the local community.  The Winter Dance Concert takes place in the auditorium on February 21 at 7:00 p.m. and two Band exam/performances the following week, on February 27 and 28, also at 7:00 pm.  Both are free admission.  The school’s annual Blood Drive welcomes neighbors and friends on April 10 (check the school web site for registration details closer to that date), and the Spring Musical – “The Wiz” – will be performed on two weekends, April 4 and 5, and 11 and 12.  Ticket information will be on the school web site closer to that time.  Come visit historic Peralta Park for these events.

 “Making the Cut”:   Twenty-five members of the Saint Mary’s High community gave the precious gift of hair at the school’s annual hair donation event on Tuesday, February 18.  Students (girls and boys), moms, little sisters, and friends participated while supporters cheered them on and faculty provided delicious treats.  Long ponytails were snipped off by five volunteer stylists, four of whom came from their Napa salon for the event.  More than twenty feet of hair was donated.  Look for the story and more photos in the Berkeley Times newspaper.

 Art on Display at Cafe Roma:  Congratulations to Saint Mary’s art students and faculty, and many thanks to Espresso Roma Cafe for hosting the January 2014 Saint Mary’s Student Art Show!  Cafe Roma again graciously offered the students a chance to show off their artwork as part of the cafe’s popular rotating art shows held monthly.  Saint Mary’s is proud to have this chance to share the work of our students with the local community.

 Panthers Share with the Philippines:  Generous Saint Mary’s students collected enough books, “Panther Gear” (school tees, sweatshirts), and recycled technology items over the past year to fill ten huge cartons being shipped in late January 2014 to fellow Lasallians in a Christian Brothers’ center in the Philippines.  In March 2012, about a dozen members of the school’s Chamber Choir and two faculty members visited and performed at several Filipino schools during Saint Mary’s annual Enrichment Week program.  They helped out with neighborhood construction projects for those in need, and learned much about Filipino history.  For many of the travelers, the Philippines is the home of their extended families.  One visit was to Bahay Pag Asa in Bacolod City, founded by the Brothers at the University of St. La Salle in 1986 as a residential/education center for male youth offenders imprisoned with adult criminals in the overcrowded city jail.  The Bahay students and Saint Mary’s students became fast friends, and the ten boxes of goods will reach the boys at Bahay Pag Asa in about six weeks, with prayers and good wishes from their Berkeley friends.

 Warming Up Winter:  During the Season of Advent 2013, Saint Mary’s students worked hard to make the Christmas season a little brighter, merrier, and warmer for those in need.  On December 20, before leaving for Christmas vacation, student representatives delivered 1,261 pairs of men’s tube socks (left) to the Berkeley Catholic Worker center, 274 warm, gently used coats and jackets to St . Anthony’s in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, and more than forty pounds of travel-size toiletries for visitors to the St. Vincent de Paul center in Oakland.  On a chilly December 7 morning, about two dozen students and faculty members volunteered at the Dominican Sisters’ annual Olive Harvest at Mission San Jose in Fremont, and were treated to warm gloves, warm cocoa, and hot dogs!  To cap off a terrific December and close out Saint Mary’s Sesquicentennial Year (1863), students proudly celebrated raising a remarkable $63,000 in donations in support of tuition assistance and student life initiatives.  This was the most money ever raised in the history of the student-sponsored project!  Provisions for Lasallian Catholic education, human dignity, service, faith — all were alive and well at Saint Mary’s during the final weeks of 2013.

Caroling Cancelled:  Due to the cancellation of the 2013 Hopkins-Monterey Holiday Event on December 14, the Saint Mary’s Carolers will look forward to seeing everyone next December.  The school community extends its deepest condolences to her family and colleagues on the death of our dear friend, former Trustee, and alumni mom, Mrs. Anita Thede of Northbrae Properties.

DECEMBER 2013/COMING UP:  Come over to the Monterey-Hopkins shopping area on Saturday, December 14 and enjoy Saint Mary’s Carolers as they serenade shoppers with holiday favorites between Noon and two o’clock.  Donate to Saint Mary’s Advent projects that benefit the local community:  Sock Drive for the Berkeley Catholic Worker (men’s white tube socks, as large as possible); Coat Drive for St. Anthony’s, San Francisco (any size, gently used); Toiletries Drive (year-round) to support St. Vincent De Paul Society shelter in Oakland (travel size toiletries for men and women).  Drives run December 2 through 20.  Contact faculty member Clare McCormick (510-559-6217) for details and collection location.  Thank you!

 Caroling in the ‘Hood:  In December 2011 and 2012, Saint Mary’s students and faculty members participated in the first two annual Holiday events sponsored by the Monterey-Hopkins businesses.  Strolling carolers entertained shoppers and passersby with Christmas favorites (like “Feliz Navidad” right), even though the rain in 2012.  Santa (Art at Gioia Pizza) greeted children and adults, decked out in the school’s Santa suit.

Music in the Garden:  Saint Mary’s music director Matt Ferreira led a student combo in selections to entertain guests at the 90th anniversary celebration at Berkeley Horticultural Nursery in September 2012 .

At the Stroll:  Saint Mary’s Cheer Squad is among the many local high school groups marching in the Solano Stroll Parade each September.

Food Bank Standouts:  The Alameda County Community Food Bank receives hundreds of hours of volunteer help from the Saint Mary’s community each year as well as thousands of pounds of food collected in the school’s annual Food Drive.

 Caring for Codornices Creek:  Not only is Saint Mary’s involved in local creek restoration and maintenance efforts, but the school’s Freshman Science classes trek down to the waters of Codornices Creek at the south edge of the campus each year to study plants, fish, and wildlife, and to help maintain the health of the creek bed, stream, and creek banks by cleaning, weeding, and trimming.  Volunteer groups from the school also do creek work at other sites in Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito/Kensington during the school year (pictured, 2012).  Codornices Creek Watershed Council meetings are held at Saint Mary’s every other month .

Relay for Life:  Again in 2013, Saint Mary’s had one of the largest groups at the annual Albany Relay for Life held at Cougar Field.

 At the Circle:  On Saturday, March 2, 2013, a number of Saint Mary’s students joined faculty member Mike Sommers, SM Class of 1974, SM alum Mike Gray ’74, and the Friends of the Fountain and Walk in Berkeley for the monthly first Saturday clean-up at the Circle and Fountain on Marin.  The group learned the fine art of electric trimmers and helped spruce up the iconic location.  Classmates and Berkeley natives Sommers and Gray both grew up not far from The Circle.

Global Reach:  Summer 2013 saw two groups of faculty and students return to service sites they visited in March as part of the school’s annual Enrichment Week program. One group returned to Port Au Prince, Haiti, and another to the De La Salle Blackfeet School on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana.  During “E-Week” each year, members of the school community on “service immersion” trips can be found providing needed help at many sites locally, nationally, and internationally.

 Welcome Picnics:  Each Summer, new freshman families are hosted to area barbecue picnics sponsored by Saint Mary’s Parent Association.  Since school families come from more than thirty cities around the Bay Area, picnics are held at three locations:  Albany’s Memorial Park, Pinole’s Fernandez Park, and this year at Montclair Park in Oakland.

Golf Invitational:  The annual Saint Mary’s Golf Invitational is a local favorite and enjoys great support from area businesses and friends.  More than 125 golfers participated in the 29th invitational at the Richmond Country Club on September 16, 2013 and nearly three dozen auction and raffle prizes were awarded at the “19th Hole” social that followed.  Thanks to area businesses, alumni, families, and friends who helped make the event so successful, raising tens of thousands of dollars for student tuition assistance.  The tournament location varies most years, often held in Richmond or at the Mira Vista Golf & Country Club in El Cerrito, and has also been held at San Francisco’s famed Olympic Club.

History Tours – During Saint Mary’s Sesquicentennial Year in 2013, the school was host to two local historical groups for tours of the school campus — a first time for most of the visitors.  In January 2013, four dozen members of the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association visited Peralta Park and the school campus, and in April 2013, a large group from the Berkeley Historical Society had a guided campus tour and  also walked the surrounding neighborhood — site of the Jose Domingo Peralta adobe, the 1889 Thomas Roe/Lueders Victorian mansion at 1330 Albina, historic Codornices Creek, and more.  Of particular interest to the groups was the famed Peralta Park Hotel that stood on the school property from 1888 until 1959.  A photo history of the school was on the tours.   Saint Mary’s concluded its Sesquicentennial Year with a Mass and reception on the campus on June 22, 2013.

Among the 2013 Golf Tournament participants were members of Saint Mary’s Class of 1964. Many are local professionals and businessmen. The Class will celebrate its fifty-year reunion in June 2014.